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Coyotes 25 Under 25: #23 Jan Jeník

The season is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to look towards the future. We do that every year with the Five For Howling 25 Under 25, ranking the Coyotes’ best players under 25. For this year’s rankings, I am joined by James Reeve (@JamesRJReeve), Mike Gould (@miketgould), Haynes Evans (@HaynesPEvans), and Matthew Jacobson (@TheAZSportsGuy).

Jan Jeník

2022-23 League: AHL (Tucson Roadrunners) – NHL (Arizona Coyotes)

Games Played: 30 – 2

Goals: 7 – 0

Assists: 16 – 0

Playoffs Games Played: 2

Playoffs Goals: 0

Playoffs Assists: 2

Highest Rating: 12

Lowest Rating: Not Rated

The Coyotes drafted Jan Jeník 65th overall in the third round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He split the next season between Czechia and the OHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he was a point-per-game player.

Jeník made his professional North American debut during the 2020-21 season, with 29 games with the Roadrunners and two games with the main club. The following two seasons would be similar; he would play mainly in the AHL but get a few games in the NHL.

The 2021-22 was Jeník’s best season so far. With 17 goals and 30 assists in 51 games with the Roadrunners, he was close to a point-per-game player, and he played in a career-high 13 NHL games and registered three points.

Unfortunately, a foot injury sidelined much of Jeník’s 2022-23 season, so he could not build off that success. He only played in 30 games but finished with a respectable 23 points. In a PHNX article, Roadrunners coach Steve Potvin points to the defensive aspects of his game being an area that he needs to improve.  

“He’s fully aware that he needs to be committed to the D-zone and play over the top of the puck and underneath. It’s going to take some reps. It’s not natural yet. Until it becomes natural, he’ll need some time, but he is making progress.”

It doesn’t seem likely that Jeník will be with the Coyotes’ organization much longer. He is currently Arizona’s only unsigned restricted free agent after he rejected the team’s qualifying offer. Being an RFA who isn’t eligible for arbitration, Jeník doesn’t have much leverage, but he can play in Europe or request a trade. He has shown he can be a productive AHL player, so there is a chance that a team will take a chance on him. But with the offseason being so close to finished, it’s unlikely he will have a shot on an NHL roster, barring injuries.

A different GM drafted Jeník, so it’s possible he just doesn’t fit General Manager Bill Armstrong’s plans. If that’s the case, it may be time for the Desert Dogs to see what they can get for the young forward, maybe flip him to a team for another prospect looking for a change of scenery.

Talking Points